BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
The game was everything it was billed to be and more as the Sullivan East Patriots entered Tuesday night’s contest at Treadway Gym tabbed as the pre-season number one team in the Three Rivers Conference, but the Elizabethton Cyclones were determined to prove that their name was worthy of consideration as well.
When the dust settled, the Cyclones owned a very competitive 61-57 win to stay unbeaten at 5-0 before a great crowd for high school basketball.
Patience key for Cyclone offense
While Sullivan East would have probably preferred running the basketball up and down the floor, Elizabethton had other plans as the Cyclones took their time and worked the ball around the top of the perimeter and kicking the ball inside and then back out looking for an easy shot.
The result was the Cyclones finally started to get the looks they wanted and built a breathable lead which they were able to nurture throughout the contest to earn the win.
Living on the outside
It was evident in the early going what the game plan for the Patriots was as each time down the floor East was primed to let one fly from beyond the arc.
The Patriots did have some success from the outside often using the three-ball to slice the lead down to within 4 to 5 points before the Cyclones pushed the advantage back out to between 6 and 8 points.
Everett a difference maker
Most Cyclone basketball fans remember as a freshman Carter Everett going to the Dyer Dome and scoring 8 points to lead the Cyclones to victory.
Everett was back in the mix on Tuesday night as the senior post rattled the rim for 14 points including a trey at the top of the key.
He also managed to do a solid job of boxing out and rebounding any loose ball that he could reach with his wingspan.
Breaking down the scoring
Eric Wilson led the scoring brigade for the Cyclones hitting for 16 points as one of four players to break into double figures.
Aside from Everett’s 14 points, Nico Ashley and Evan Perkins painted the cotton for 10 points each.
Parker Hughes added 6 points while Bryson Rollins recorded 5 points.
Dustin Bartley was high man for Sullivan East with 15 points. Adam Davison and Dylan Bartley knocked down 12 points apiece for the Patriots as well.
East hit 13 treys in the contest.
Honeycutt revisits the game
“We talked a lot about tempo, and they (East) like to speed people up and play really fast as that’s their game,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “They shot the ball really well tonight. I thought a lot of the shots they made tonight were great shots as they were all contested.
“I thought our defense played really good tonight. We did a really good job of just controlling the tempo of the game and playing our style.
“We are still figuring some of that stuff out,” continued Honeycutt. “Obviously we want to get to the point where we can play fast, but right now we are still transitioning to that.
“It was just a big win on our home floor against pre-season number one, and I think that is huge.”
The Cyclones will be playing in the Roundball in the Palace tournament this weekend at Science Hill High School tipping off at 8:30 Friday night and noon Saturday.